12 July 2024

The Central Administrative Court has ordered Thailand’s anti-graft watchdog, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), to reveal its findings from an investigation into the expensive wristwatches seen being worn in public by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan. The ruling was read yesterday (Wednesday).

The court ruled that, the disclosure of the findings about this case, including witness testimonies and Gen Prawit’s own testimonies, will demonstrate the transparency and accountability of the NACC and will enhance public trust and confidence in the agency.

The court also ruled that the entity or individual who initiated the case in the court has the right of access to information of state agencies and it is the duty of the state agencies to disclose the information in accordance with Sections 41 and 59 of the Constitution.

The court said that the NACC has the right to appeal against this ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court within 30 days.

Gen Prawit’s expensive wristwatch controversy was brought to the attention of the Central Administrative Court by Mr. Veera Somkwamkid, a political activist and secretary-general of the Anti-Corruption People’s Network, following the administrator of the “CSI LA” Facebook page’s exposé that prompted public outrage and ridicule.

In his Facebook post last night, Veera warned corrupt politicians and officials that, when he starts an investigation into an alleged graft case, he is fully committed to it and will do his best and in a straightforward manner, regardless of who they are.

In December 2018, the NACC cleared Gen Prawit, by 5:3 votes, of any wrongdoing and said he had no intention of making a false assets declaration by omitting 22 luxury timepieces he had been seen wearing.

According to the NACC, the deputy prime minister claimed he had borrowed all the watches from a former classmate, the late Patthawat Suksriwong, and had returned them.

The NACC also said it had sought clarifications from Gen Prawit on four occasions and had sought information from the Customs Department, the Foreign Ministry, overseas luxury watch manufacturers and local dealers of the expensive wristwatches.

It declined, however, to make public the full details of the findings.